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The Straight Poop on Cloth Diapers

By Amalah

O Great and Mighty Cloth Diapering Amalah,

I have an issue with cloth diapers. It is apparently an issue that nobody else commenting has. It is an issue that you clearly stated you don’t deal with. My issue is… Poop.

Now, let me clarify. I do not squeal in horror when I have to wipe up a poopy little butt. I do not faint when I accidentally get a bit of poopy on my hand while cleaning up the baby. When an acquaintance mentioned he didn’t want kids because he couldn’t stand the thought of getting poop on him, I started praying he’d be sterile because SERIOUSLY, you just can’t have kids if you mind poop.

However, poop IS gross. Plopping a solid turd off a cloth diaper into the toilet is cool. Getting semisolid (think sweet potato casserole) poop off a cloth diaper is NOT COOL. Having a toddler who does not have regular bowel habits, and who tends to have soft poopies, does not seem compatible with cloth diapers. Also, breastfed baby poo, same issue.

Even if I had one of those nifty toilet sprayers… unless it sprays so hard that I imagine the water jet bouncing back off the diaper onto the toilet tank, I can’t figure out how the squished-into-the-fabric poop is going to come off the diaper without me physically scrubbing it out. EW? And/or, then the possibility of leftover poop in the washer. Also… EW?!

Am I missing something, or am I just 100% incompatible with cloth diapering?

Thanks a zillion.

Well, actually, you ARE missing a couple handy tips that make the Poop Issue easier (more on those in a moment). And also the correlation between your truly-terrified-of-poop friend and your own fears — your imagination is generally worse than reality, and even when reality IS pretty gross (like that time my baby had an explosive poop all over my lap at a restaurant that only had the tiniest bathroom ever, like there wasn’t enough room between the toilet and the door for the diaper bag, much less a three-month-old) you just sort of…take it in stride and deal with it, knowing that the benefits of babies and children outweigh the occasional brush with grossness.

And speaking of benefits, the aforementioned Grossest Thing Ever story? Happened in a disposable. The explosive, leaking-out-the-leg-holes, shooting-up-the-back poops always happen in disposables. bumGenius? Fuzzi Bunz? They contain those poops. They LAUGH at those poops.

As for dealing with your Standard Issue Baby Poop, there are a few things you should know about cloth diapers. First, breastmilk poop is completely and 100% water soluble. You do nothing to these diapers except toss them in your pail, then they go directly in the wash, no scrubbing or rinsing or scraping. The poop washes away, really and truly. We were just starting solids when we switched, and still regularly had all-breastmilk poops, and I can testify that really, it was like washing mustard-colored water.

Once you’re dealing with real poops, the mantra really becomes “you do the best you can.” Dump or shake or scrape off what you can — as long as we’re not talking huge chunks of solids, your washing machine can very likely handle it. You can use flushable liners to catch most of it, even when we’re talking about sweet potato casserole. I use the rice paper liners (aka flushable liners), and while they do their intended job just fine, I don’t love them because they don’t strike me as being particularly comfortable. (They kind of stick to little-boy parts and aren’t very soft.) I’ve heard very high praise for the Bummis liners, though, and plan to try those next. (When I run out of my supply of 200-for-12-bucks rice paper liners. Sometime in the next century.)

If, say, you’ve got a really nasty load and didn’t use a liner, or your child has diarrhea, I’ve HEARD the diaper sprayers are a godsend. But I’ll have to leave it to the commenters to describe the process in more detail, because I don’t personally own one. I do, however, own a 99-cent plastic spatula. I store it under the sink in a plastic bucket, and bust it out to scrape smushy poops off. It literally takes two seconds, then I rinse it off, wipe it down with a Clorox wipe and toss it back in the bucket.

(Also, if I may get even more graphic here, and this may just be my own personal experience…but have any other cloth diaperers noticed that poops don’t get quite as compressed and spread out as they do in disposables? This could be because of my bad habit of squeezing my kids into slightly-too-small diapers for too long because I bought too many Size Twos right before a growth spurt, but I feel like I deal with fewer really messy poops and more shake-able turds now.)

And finally, your choice of diaper pail is important. We use the dry pail system — a regular metal pail with a tight-fitting lid and a liner bag for smell-containment and easy laundry-day transferring. We used the bumGenius Odor Remover spray for awhile but lost interest once we ran out — it was best for really ammonia-heavy toddler pee, which we aren’t dealing with anymore. The dry pail system is the one that requires the shaking and scraping, though I admit I have tossed some NASTY DIAPERS in there. As long as we do a good long cold soak in the washer and drain the water before actually washing the diapers, I have never had a problem with stray solids staying in the washer. (I don’t have a great fancy HE washer either, just a standard ancient-ish top loader.)

If you want to skip the shaking and scraping process, you can opt for a wet pail. It basically starts the soaking process right there in the pail. Pull the diaper off your baby, toss it into a pail filled about halfway with water and (this is important for safety) LOCK THE LID. Personally, I’d still shake as much as possible into the toilet first, but I did that even when I used disposables, because EW. Why keep it around in the house if you don’t absolutely have to? We went with the dry pail system mostly because of the layout of our house — we have to carry laundry down two flights of stairs, and a wet pail is HEAVY with all that water. If we still lived in our condo, where the diaper pail sat less than three feet away from our washer, I’d probably give it a try, just for the better stain-prevention benefits. Your choice probably should depend on which you find more gross — shaking/scraping a couple times a day…or confronting a bucket of brown poop-water on laundry day.

I know this all sounds like so much, uh, up-close-and-personal dealing-with-poop WORK, but I swear to God, it really isn’t. I can take most of the bodily fluid aspects of motherhood in stride, but it’s not like I ENJOY dealing with rank diapers and bad smells and all of that. It just doesn’t really take that long, or that much real effort. Ask my husband, who was at one time every bit as terrified of the Poop Thing as your childless friend, but is now a fellow cloth diaper evangelist. (I think our only complaint is directed at each other, since both my husband and I have a habit of setting dirty diapers on the bathroom sink while we get the baby dressed and situated someplace else…and then completely forget to go back and deal with the diaper. Surprise!)

(Oh, and while this doesn’t directly involve the topic at hand, this column has become my primary place to geek out about cloth diapers, so I’ll tack it on anyway: Finally sacked up and switched to powdered Charlie’s Soap after we started having some pretty bad Stink Problems. Oh. Em. Gee. You guys. I love it. I beyond love it. I am tempted to take the bag to bed with me for cuddles.)

Related Entries:

1) Cloth Diapering 101 (Part 1)
2) Cloth Diapering 101 (Part 2)
3) Cloth Diapering 101 (Part 3)

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • Elizabeth_K

    August 14, 2009 at 10:20 am

    We use cloth diapers with plastic wraps, and I agree with Amalah about everything — the poops are so much more contained (my son is 17 months and I swear we’ve had two blow-outs in cloth, in that entire time). ALSO, yes, it can stink. We use the water pail (with a bit of vinegar thrown in), and we just threw the infant diapers in there, no problem. Once he started eating, we had the SPRAYER installed (thanks, Mom!) and it is awesome. No touching the poop, it gets every particle off, we love it, we sing its praises the end. I had a friend who threw underwear away while potty training because she just couldn’t deal with the poop — if you are that squeamish, it’s okay — just go with disposable. But just regular people, grossed out by poop? A sprayer and the magical words — SO MANY FEWER BLOW OUTS — do the trick perfectly.

  • Elizabeth (are all cloth diaper affcianados called Elizabeth?)

    August 14, 2009 at 10:54 am

    We switched to cloth when #1 was ~15 months old, and #2 will be in cloth from day 1, thanks to our hippy-dippy hospital. We have a dry pail.
    I use the rice paper liners on #1 and agree that they stick to boy parts, but I’ve never heard a single complaint from him and they make poopy diapers super easy to clean up. For a BF baby, not a big deal. I agree that solid poop seems to stay more solid and dumpable in cloth than disposables, unless you don’t know it’s in there and take the kid on a bike ride. Then it gets ugly.
    Just the other night, my husband, who was very skeptical about the cloth, told me “they’re really not a big deal at all.” This is from the pickiest, complainiest, whinest person I know (and love!) so that’s saying something.

  • beanery

    August 14, 2009 at 11:19 am

    The Charlie’s Soap link is broken.
    EDITOR: Thanks for letting us know; it is now fixed.

  • Alias Mother

    August 14, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Liners saved cloth diapering for me after we started solids. We use the Bummis and have noticed no sticking, but then again, we have a girl. I hear the parts are different or something?
    Anyway, the only thing I would add is that your fear of washer ickiness is understandable, but also not a big deal. I add some vinegar to the rinse and that disinfects the washer and kills off any smell that may remain (some people use tea tree oil for the same purpose, but vinegar works fine and is hella cheaper). I also, when I can, make sure that the next load of laundry I do is something that can be washed in HOT water, usually towels or sheets. It’s just a little peace of mind that if there happens to be any bacteria left in there, a second round of hot water is likely to kill it off.

  • MsKrieger

    August 14, 2009 at 11:54 am

    The whole poop thing is so not hard. Really. We use Indian prefolds covered in Thirsties, no liners or anything. My husband installed a sprayer head on a hose jacked to a pipe near the toilet. It’s a regular stretchy garden-hose type thing we bought at home depot. Really straightforward. Anyhow, we just stick the prefold cloth diaper into the toilet and hose it down – and voila! No poop stands a chance of sticking to the diaper under the force of that sprayer. Awesome. Then you just squeeze the diaper out and drop it in the pail. Who knew you could get that much satisfaction from a poopy diaper?

  • kim

    August 14, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    So can you use the Charlie’s Soap for all baby-related items (ie. clothes, linens, etc.)? I’m assuming so, but being a first time expecting mom, I really have no idea.

  • Kathleen

    August 14, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    I’m still mostly on the breastfed poop, and I have to agree with all of the above (throw in dry pail, wash a couple days later, all good). But I had to comment, because this:
    “unless you don’t know it’s in there and take the kid on a bike ride. Then it gets ugly.”? Busted out laughing. (probably not as funny in reality, but..)

  • Beth

    August 14, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    I use Kushies liners and they are GREAT! for wet ones, I wash them and reuse them (although on the second time around I double up because the kind of shrink width-wise. but still.) I didn’t like the bummis liners as much. They were more cloth like than the Kushies and would stick to the baby more, I thought.

  • wallydraigle

    August 14, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    My big question is, how do you wash cloth diapers if your washer doesn’t have a soak cycle? We have a front loader, and the best it gets is a rinse and spin cycle, where if you set it to the lowest spin setting, the clothes stay pretty wet. I suppose the rapid wash cycle would accomplish much the same thing. But is that adequate? We have another one on the way in a few months, and I really, really want to switch, but I just don’t know if it’s feasible with the washer we’ve got.

    • Sarah

      January 17, 2013 at 11:53 am

      I know this is many months later, but just came across this site.  I also have a front loader with no soak option.  I use the ‘rapid wash’ setting (30 min.) on cold with no detergent.  Then I add the detergent and do a regular wash on hot with an extra rinse.  It would be handy to do it all in one cycle but I haven’t figured out how to do it on my machine, and it’s not that much extra work (add detergent, press button).  It’s now been 4 months and we haven’t had any problems getting the diapers clean.

    • Chloe

      September 6, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      I know this is a really late response, but I just had to comment as well. My washer doesn’t have a soak cycle but when you open the lid the washer pauses/stops. I just turn the washer on and let it fill up and wash for a few minutes/seconds then open the lid and let the diapers soak for however long I think it needs – usually 20 – 30 minutes. I set a timer on my phone so I don’t forget. Then I just shut the lid and let it finish washing the diapers. I know it’s a bit more work to have to remember to go back to the machine and shut the lid, but it’s not that bad. Just thought I’d share! 🙂

  • Natalie

    August 14, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    And if it’s an option: Diaper Service! We place our bag of dirty diapers on the front step every Wednesday and they magically get replaced with clean ones. Although, at 5 weeks, it wouldn’t be a biggie to do our own diapers as the breast-milk poos are pretty easy to deal with.

  • Liz

    August 14, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Our baby is almost a year old, and we’ve been using Bum Genius 3.0 cloth diapers since he was around 3 months. They sat in the closet for the first three months because I was so overwhelmed in the beginning, I couldn’t imagine dealing with cloth when he was having runny breastmilk poops every ten minutes. Next time around, I think I’ll have more spirit.
    Agreed- the cloth does a much better job of containing the softer poops.
    We didn’t buy a diaper sprayer because we already had something similar attached to the shower in our tiny bathroom, which we used for washing the dog (the diaper sprayer attaches to your toilet’s plumbing). The hose was plenty long enough to reach the toilet bowl. I tried it a few times on the aforementioned “sweet potato casserole” type poops, but it was more trouble than it was worth. Poopy water droplets went everywhere, even when we tried to be careful. Maybe the diaper sprayer is more gentle. Attacking with a wad of toilet paper and then swishing the diaper in the toilet bowl usually works just fine. If it looks like that kind of job, we just take a waterproof lap pad into the bathroom to wrap the diaper in when we’re done.

  • wallydraigle

    August 14, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    I do not know if this is the place to ask this, but lately this website hasn’t been remembering my information even when I click “yes” on “Remember me?” I don’t have this problem elsewhere, and it is puzzling.
    If it matters, I’m on a Mac and use Firefox.
    Editor: we’ll look into this. webmaster on vacay but will get to it ASAP.

  • Kelly

    August 14, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Just wanted to add some info for all the formula moms. In my experience, formula poopy diapers can be thrown right in the washer (I use a dry pail). My daughter had rice cereal in her bottle for reflux and I still threw them straight in the washer. Only now that we’ve added more solids do I drop poop in the toliet. I’m still really lazy about it though if it’s not easily removed and we haven’t had any problems. I have a crappy old washer and run 2 cycles (cold then hot). I use a combo of bumgenius and prefolds with g-diaper covers (I wash the g diaper covers with her regular laundry).

  • Caitlin

    August 14, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    I use mother-ease diapers (fantastic fantastic fantastic). My husband uses the 99 cent spatula approach which I think I’ll do once I get back from my summer in Greece (yes I’m the one with the breastfeeding wardrobe question for summer dresses – thanks, Amalah!) since poop is definitely becoming more solid with the solid food.
    I have had zero problems with staining, with my dry pail method.
    What we do since the bedroom is on a different floor from the washing machine, is have a small pail that cost $2 at the dollar store in the bedroom. It can contain about 1 day worth of diapers. When it’s full, it goes downstairs to the main pail at which point I do the rinsing in the toilet then into the bucket. My main diaper pail (next to the washer) has a net bag that fits inside with a drawstring top. When the diapers are ready to go in the washer, just lift out the liner and pull the top closed, then put the whole thing in the washer. It’s great.
    My pail is plastic, so each time I put the diapers in the wash, I rinse it out with water and a little vinegar to make sure the plastic doesn’t start to smell.
    I love my cloth diapers (and for those who aren’t grossed out by this, they were hand-me-downs from friends – talk about savings!) and wouldn’t do it any other way!

  • Melissa

    August 14, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    I’m SO glad someone asked this — I’ve been wondering the exact same thing. Expecting #1 in January, and I like what I hear about the containment and the diaper rash benefits, plus, the idea of wrapping the bum in cloth sounds so much nicer. But I really had no idea what exactly you DO with those poopy diapers – how do they not stink up the house?, do they really get clean?, isn’t pre-rinsing them reallyreallyreally gross? I also enjoy the comments re: husbands, because right now, DH won’t even DISCUSS diapers. Too gross. Boys … sigh.
    Anyway, just wanted to tell Amalah that the CD posts are very much appreciated, as well as the comments from the seasoned vets!

  • rkmama

    August 14, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    I’m so hardcore I read this while eating lunch and didn’t bat an eye.
    We’ve used bumgenius since my son was 14 months and I very much agree that cloth contains poo better than disposables did for us.
    We lasted about 3 days before we started using bummis liners (which we love) and do a great job most of the time. We don’t use the sprayer because poop droplets scare us. We do have the occasional mess due to do improper or hasty placement of the liner during changes but 90% of the time the poop is contained in the liner. Maybe once or twice a month we’ll get a poop that is bad enough that we rinse in out in the laundry tub.
    We don’t have a soak cycle- just a cold rinse, of which we do one before and one after the hot wash and it seems to do the trick.
    We also use a dry pail for which we just use a plastic garbage bin with a bummis bag and a tight fitting top. We also used the Bumgenius odor spray for a while but my son hid it and I’m too lazy to look for it and too cheap to by a new one. It does get more ammonia-y without it though.
    My husband turned white as a sheet when I told him I wanted to switch to cloth, “But what about the POOP?!!” and now he loves it. Well, as much as anyone can love diapering…

  • kakaty

    August 14, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    We didn’t have a soak feature and the few times I left the diapers in with the lid up (which would defalut to a soak because the washer wouldn’t spin with the lid up) I ended up forgetting about the diapers until way later. So we just did a short, no-detergent, cold water wash first to get all the poop rinsed out followed by the standard hot water wash with vinegar in the rinse (with a Downey ball – I could never be bothered to go back and add to the rinse cycle). We had a sprayer but never used it – even for toddler poops. What didn’t fall off went into the old, top-load washer. The only problem is when she ate corn – that never seemed to make it all the way out of the drain.

  • miriam

    August 14, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I agree– poop really doesn’t stick to the prefolds. Downside is that with massive poos it will run out a bit and get the diaper cover dirty (big deal– 9 week old is pooping about 2x day with the breastmilk so I might have to wash one extra diaper cover it’s never gotten on anything else). The kissaluvs fitteds contain the massive runny poos she’s having now– when she was younger, she was pooing less but more often, so it didn’t seem to make much difference.
    I’m actually looking forward to the poos getting more solid, since I feel like the wet prefolds are slightly less gross than the wet kissaluvs (both are shockingly absorbant)– and the thirsties diaper cover does fine with both.
    Since I’m still in breast milk time, the poos just rinse out with the prewash (I have a HE frontloader).
    I just wanted to add that this gave me a much needed forum to discuss poo without alienating my friends…

  • Joceline

    August 14, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    The poop really, really is not gross or hard to deal with. Like Amy said, just toss 100% breastmilk poop into the washer. No problem. It comes out clean everytime. As for the solid food poop, get the sprayer. It is strong enough to spray all of the poop off but not soak your bathroom. Just make sure to spray straight down into the toilet, not sideways. Once everything is off, toss it into the pail (which we keep right next to the toilet that has the sprayer). On wash day, dump the whole thing into the wash. No little poop bits will be stuck in the wash, I promise. And my son has the semi-solid poop everytime.
    For the previous poster with the questions about the soak-setting: just fill your washer, and leave the lid open so it doesn’t start the wash cycle until you are ready. After you are done soaking, close the lid and let it start up again!

  • EdenSky

    August 14, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    To wallydraigle, about the soak setting: My washer doesn’t have that option either. I just dump the contents of my dry pail into the wash and do a cold rinse, hot wash, cold rinse and all is well.
    As for removing poop: I guess I am really not squeamish, because if stubborn poop refuses to fall into the toilet I just dunk the dipe a couple times, works great.

  • eva

    August 14, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    I used fleece liners in my bumgenius diapers for those transitional months when my daughter was still breastfeeding but alredy eating solids and we had that squash stew/peanut butter poop. They were awesome!
    I bought these ones:

  • becca

    August 14, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    My washer doesn’t have a soak cycle, and I am terribly forgetful, so I put the diapers in for a rinse and spin, leave the lid up, and set the kitchen timer. Works every time. It helps that my kitchen timer continues to beep until I turn it off, so the sheer annoyance factor makes me go do it.
    We are just starting solids, and have faced the poop issue. We had one load where I didn’t get the poop off and had some….residue. Not a lot. Just a few tiny balls. It was gross enough though. So now what we do is spray the diaper into the toilet using the shower sprayer. It takes some practice to get right so you don’t soak yourself or the bathroom, but it is working well. I am thinking about getting a 5-gallon bucket and spraying into that and then emptying into the toilet, but haven’t sprayed myself enough times to decide to actually do it.
    You can put the diapers in the sun to get rid of the stains. Works great every time!
    Also, baking soda in the soak and some hydrogen peroxide with the detergent keeps the smells away. (Vinegar might add more stink if the problem is too much acid already.)
    And I 100% agree- poopy disposables = more blowouts! Every time she poops in a disposable, she needs a new outfit. Doesn’t happen in cloth. I love my cloth.

  • lindswing

    August 14, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    I get so damned excited every time there’s a post on cloth diapers! I asked the question that led to the second installment, I believe, and can’t wait to join the ranks of the cloth diaper using, in large part to find out whether I was right to evangelize them so vehemently to my friends. Right now I just have a drawer full of yet unwashed and unworn BumGeniuses and a belly full of Baby. We bought the sprayer, but are waiting to attach it until we decide it’s necessary. I’ve heard from several people that the Bummis liners tend to slide around, rendering themselves useless, but we bought a roll anyway. We are also foregoing the pail on advice of a cloth advocate and are just using the waterproof, washable bag. We’ll see how long that lasts… I’m glad to hear that Charlie’s soap is so effective; I was wavering on the purchase. I think I’ll pick some up, after all.

  • Jackie

    August 14, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Does anyone live in an apartment building where you only have coin-op or card-op laundry? I can’t imagine having to haul everything down to the basement, since I don’t feel comfortable leaving the baby up 8 flights, plus I have to pay $1.50 for every cycle…does anyone do it?

  • Erin

    August 14, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    The sprayer we have from BumGenius is like a power washer for cloth diapers! We love it….and here’s another shout out to Mother Ease. Oh and I should also say my hubby is super grossed out by poop in general and doesn’t have any issues with cloth v. Disposables.

    • Amanda

      January 19, 2015 at 10:30 am

      I just saw this. We bought a portable washing machine that attaches to our kitchen sink for $100 on craigslist (you can get them new for like $250-$300). It holds about a day or day and a half of diapers, and had made cloth diapering totally doable. 

  • Lynne

    August 14, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Another option for a wet pail is to use the washer as the wet pail. Fill it up on cold and soak the diapers for a few days; then let it drain, rinse and wash with soap as usual. That way you don’t look at the yucky poopy water. I still wash the diapers off with a toilet sprayer (keep the toilet seat DOWN to reduce the spray). Well I have to warn you that I USED to use a sprayer – after the plumbing connected to it broke and it ran full-blast while we were gone for 4 hours a few months ago (upstairs of course), I stopped using it…I have serious misgivings about using it ever again. It caused $26,000 in damages… and we had to leave the house for 3 months. So please, don’t let your husband install the sprayer and make sure you turn off the water supply when not in use 🙂 Other than the damage to my house, I loved cloth diapering – HAHA!

  • Dori

    August 15, 2009 at 12:39 am

    Hey Jackie- your question about living in an apartment and the cost of the washer/dryer and the flights of stairs, etc… I recommend a diaper service of some kind? Just a thought, we are in a similar living situation, and when baby arrives in about 2 months, we are planning on getting the diaper service- in our neck of the woods it’s around $18/week for full service to come pick them up once a week and drop off clean ones. Sounds almost too good to be true! 🙂
    Just a thought?

  • geek anachronism

    August 15, 2009 at 2:31 am

    I just started using cloth – I swear I’m the only person who didn’t have billions of blowouts with disposables! There’s only been one poopsplosion that wasn’t due to not changing soon enough/picking the CuddleMonster up with a hand effectively pushing the poop out of the nappy.
    Said poopsplosion was while being held by my mother though…
    Anyway, I use coolababy pocket nappies and they seem pretty good. I did chuck the microfibre inserts into the dryer which made them seem dry but the overflowing after the first pee makes me think they weren’t. For poop they’ve been good (unlike the terry flats + pilchers we tried at first) as well – I generally rinse the poop off in the laundry tub then soak. I might try just chucking it in the laundry bin though. No toilet sprayer here (we rent) but it’d be good in the future I think.
    It’s taken a while for the CuddleMonster to get used to though – she screamed the entire time we trialled the flat squares!

  • LauraP

    August 16, 2009 at 8:25 am

    I just started using cloth as well. When they came in the mail and showed them to my husband he said, “She’s going to poop in that!?!”
    I only got three just to see how they work out and I went 3 days without having a poopy cloth diaper. My daughter is still mostly breastfed but has started some solids. Think I’m going to get some rice paper or the bummis liners
    So far so good! Thanks for the diaper posts!

  • Danielle

    August 16, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    I’ve been using cloth for my now-8-month-old through exclusively breastmilk, breastmilk-and-formula, exclusively formula, and now solids-and-formula, and it’s really not that bad. We started out with unbleached prefolds and prowrap covers, and have now started changing over to Fuzzi Bunz one size pocket diapers (also tried Kushies because they were hand-me-downs from a cousin, but they’re sort of poorly designed), with no liners. My husband and I both rinse out dirty diapers in the toilet (and we don’t have a sprayer) and use a dry pail. During the rinse, we flush a couple times — first shake off the solids, then flush, then rub the cloth together to get some of the more stubborn stuff, then flush again — but it’s really just not that bad. You get used to it. The Kushies are the messiest to scrub in the toilet because of the way the inserts go in, but really none of it is as dire as I would have expected before I started cloth diapering — and my formerly-poop-phobic husband has certainly taken to it way more easily than I would have expected. I’m really just not comfortable putting poop in my washing machine (or the trash, which has always bugged me about disposables) and I’m also concerned about staining, hence the toilet rinse, and I can’t say enough how much less gross it is than I would have expected.

  • sasspizzazz

    August 17, 2009 at 12:16 am

    I’m sure this is probably of no interest to anyone, but I grew up in the small town in NC where Charlie’s Soap is made! I used to see signs promoting it around town when I was kid. They said things like “Have you heard about Charlie’s Soap?” and “Have you tried Charlie’s Soap?” I used to wonder if everybody else was having a great time with this soap, and I was just totally missing out.
    I, uh… just wanted to share that with someone. Thanks!

  • kaelak

    August 17, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Wait wait wait wait: dirty diapers in the WASHING MACHINE? Gah. (coming from someone who doesn’t have kids yet, but still – blargh.)

  • Lucy

    August 17, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Okay – so I’ve been cloth diapering now for about 4 months and have graduated from a few inherited, worn out pocket diapers, to a few nice, new Bum Genius to MAKING. POCKET. DIAPERS. MYSELF. Like, with a sewing machine and organic fabrics bought through the interwebs. Full hippy status has been well and truly achieved over here, people!
    I actually have a question for y’all though – our inherited-with-the-house-and-gotta-be-at-least-12-years-old dryer died last last week, and we suspected that the washer was not far behind. So we splurged (rebates!) on an the Whirlpool Cabrio set (High Efficiency BUT top loading machine, no agitator, highest capacity you can get blah blah). Has anyone used Charlies Soap with an HE machine, or know of any problems this could potentially cause for a very-bloody-expensive washer that I don’t want to ruin but oh! the water savings! the wash quality! etc etc?
    Does anyone have an HE machine that they wash cloth diapers in and if so, what detergent do you use?

  • anne

    August 17, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Seriously? No sprayer? You NEED a sprayer. Sheesh, the spatula trick sounds silly compared to the POWER of a sprayer! It really truly is high powered enough to rinse it all away. Love the sprayer. It’s a pain whilst on vacation to be away from the sprayer and try to wipe with just the wipes. LOVE the sprayer. 🙂

  • Iconoclast

    August 18, 2009 at 4:34 am

    I always seem to be keen on posting in the cloth diaper discussions – why?! I must be a diaper nerd like so many of you.
    I use pre-folds and the super whisper wraps for my son, who is now toilet trained and only uses diapers during naps and at night, so I get off easy nowadays. I have used this system since he was about a month old however, so I have dealt with everything from the breast feeding poops (training poops really, for the parents) to those icky sold poops what WILL NOT come off the diaper willingly!
    The breast milk poops can just be thrown in the pail ,like Amalah says. I use a dry pail with a PUL (polyurethane cloth laminate) cloth lining bag that I wash with the diapers and wraps. I actually bought one of those sprayers you attach to the toilet in a fit of nesting, however, I reverted to my usual habit of minimal work and general laziness, and never bothered to nag my husband to install it. (He never volunteered – LOL) Consequently, we ended up rinsing the diapers in the toilet for those nasty poops, which worked well enough for us to declare it good enough. I certainly did not scrub or use spatulas or anything else. There WILL be some residue on the diaper and soaked into the cloth, there is no way to get around it. Don’t worry about it, it will wash out. I had an old ice cream pail that I kept beside the toilet to contain the drips off the soaking wet rinsed diaper while I transported it the diaper pail in my son’s room (only across the hall, we live in a bungalow) and that was the extent of my “equipment”. (I dumped the water out in the toilet and rinsed it out in the tub when I was done; occasionally cleaned it out with soap) I also considered buying those liners, but never got around to it, and the dunking method worked fine.
    While the poop was not my most favorite thing, it really was no big deal, and it certainly made us feel a lot better about putting the poop through the sewer system where it belongs, rather than in the garbage, where it certainly doesn’t. There are definitely the “EW” moments, but the poop has to be dealt with regardless, so you just get on with it. There is a certain perverse satisfaction in describing the extent of the gross poop you just had to deal with to your spouse, LOL, and having the same done to you. You might as well have a laugh about it. (Hell, I sometimes called him at work about it – it was our little joke)
    Also, about the residual poop in the machine worry: In a word, don’t worry. This was my constant paranoid fear as well, and I never encountered it, and I have an old and well-worn machine. Keep in mind though, the diapers will never be pristine and white as you see them when new. That is only an illusion, and while I am sure with enough effort you can get them that way every wash, it would be a total waste of energy in my humble opinion. The kid will just POOP on the pristine white again. I was and still am quite satisfied with my rather stained and very functional diapers. I always pre-rinse on cold, wash on hot with about half of the detergent (I use Tide, the regular kind) and dry on hot. That is it. If I, the queen of laziness, manage to wash cloth diapers while working full time, any trained monkey can do it (Not that you are one, mind you, just saying..LOL)

  • Olivia

    August 18, 2009 at 10:18 am

    My question is about the disposable liners. Do you use them in every cloth diaper, or do your babies have a “poop schedule”? It seems like a waste to use a liner if my baby just pees on it, but her poops are unpredictable.

  • Christina

    August 18, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Not yet mom here – suggestions for cloth users on vacation?

  • stacy

    August 21, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    @Dori, @Jackie : I live in an apartment as well with shared laundry in the basement. It is totally doable.
    I do wash on Weds and Sundays. I have about a dozen pre-folds (had 2 dozen newborn, but she is now almost 6 months), 5 covers, 11 bumgenius OS, 4 other pocket diapers, and 3 all-in-ones. It is PLENTY, and my gal gets changed every 3 hours, or when she poops.
    My usual thing is to do all my regular laundry, then diapers last because it takes a long time with my front-loading HE washer. I put the baby in the sling or wrap when I carry my stuff down, and at some point early on I bring her Bumbo to set her in while I am loading/unloading the machines.
    I do a cold rinse, and then a hot wash with extra rinse cycle. Those two total 2 hours! Then I dry all the pre-folds and inserts in the dryer and hang the covers up to dry (I use a little octopus shaped clothespin drier thing from IKEA either hanging from the shower rod or out on the balcony). The first few times I did my diapers I stuck my head inside the washer to see if it smelled funky and if I needed to do another empty rinse so that my neighbors wouldn’t complain, but it just smelled of detergent. I use an eco-detergent that doesn’t contain brighteners or enzymes etc, but I have heard Tide works just as well. Who knows. my diapers are clean, so it’s fine for me.
    Any stained items go in the sun for a few hours. Stains magically disappear. It’s amazing.
    I am still exclusively breastfeeding, so no need for liners or dunking or any of that. Also have never had a poop blowout in cloth. *grr disposables* I have had poop get on the covers, but it stays inside. It all goes into a dry pail with liner. I just shake out the insert and dup the cover into the pail. I own Bummis liners for when things get a bit more solid, as we have a tankless-toilet so sprayer thing not an option. I also made myself some fleece liners to try out.
    I double-insert the nighttime diapers, since even the quietest diaper change wakes her. The fleece of the BumGenius wicks away any moisture from her skin and she doesn’t usually poop in her sleep. (If she does I change her). For the BG this means the big insert, and 2 newborn inserts. It’s huge, but she is sleeping!
    OMG sorry to blather on. My husband and I (total non-hippies) love to cloth diaper… and our friends are boggled by it. Oh well, they don’t change our kids diapers so they don’t really get an opinion! 😛

  • Harry Trent

    September 22, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    I’m a new dad and poop has always been my least favorite thing to clean up for my newborn. We use cloth diapers too to avoid skin irritations for our child and I agree that poop can be messy. I guess it’s the price you pay for going organic. I use some BabyGanics to clean up poop spills and it works just fine. I posted a link below if you guys don’t know what I’m talking about.

  • Sean

    September 24, 2009 at 8:46 am

    Poop will always be the least favorite issue with newborn babies. I’d say cloth diapers is best for hanlding poop without having to irritate the skin. Cleaning up some of the poop that get to the wrong places can be troublesome. Babyganics does have some organic products for the job though as Harry pointed out. Check it out

  • stacy

    November 9, 2009 at 6:34 am

    I posted the long annoying post above, and just wanted to come back to say — once my daughter began to eat a lot of solid foods, we realized quite quickly that we needed a new strategy for dealing with poop in her cloth diapers. After some trial and error (spraying and/or dunking did not work well for us) we just went with the stiff-ish, wide, rice paper flushable liners. They are THE BOMB. I had some thin, soft ones but they always got bunched up (bumkins i think?). The wide stiff ones are awesome. I just peel it, wipe her off, and flush the whole lot. There is hardly even a stain on the diapers most of the time.

  • emily

    January 23, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Hello all. Ok, I’m new to these cloth diaper adventures. (My baby is almost 14 months and still nurses). I couldn’t seem to scrape hardly any of the poop off before throwing them in the wash, and did NOT do a cold rinse first, just two hot rinses. This was an accident – sort of. I didn’t feel like going back out to the garage after the first cold rinse to put them through a hot rinse. I’m honestly not sure this is for me since my washer and dryer are in the garage. Lazy, I know. Because I did not cold rinse first, I was scared there’d be dried poo cluds in the washer but there wasn’t (just put everything in the dryer). The crapped upon diapers are only slightly stained and everything else looks fine. My question is, because I washed them incorrectly, did I screw them up for good? Is there bacteria on them since I did not pre-rinse with cold? Any advice you can offer is much appreciated!

  • Laura

    January 9, 2013 at 5:02 am

    I am shocked no one uses a plunger like I do. I put my poo diaper right in the toilet and swish it around till it gets clean . Then flush the dirty water down and wring out the diaper and let it dry on the shower curtain rod. Then wash my hands I never get anything nasty on me . i live in an apartment don’t think they allow sprayers. Luckily we live down stairs and I have a washroom on site .no problem lugging it or washing couldn’t be easier . I would recommend using a trashcan with wheels if you had to walk to laundry faclities but it can be done !

  • Amy

    April 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Thanks so much for this. My son has the same kind of poop. We’ve started baby food and liners don’t hold his mush. Also, I’ve used Charlie’s soap exclusively. But sometimes I smell that urine fresh out of the dryer and off the line. Even  after stripping. I was reading on another site and they suggested that might be a sign of not using enough detergent. I have a top loader as well. Is there a guide somewhere or how much soap to use per diaper load. For example – 1 whole scope for 15 diapers? How much do you use?

  • Amanda

    May 23, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    I find them disgusting also. I would not want to scrap poop off and then through a poop cloth into our washer… gross. I find them gross

  • laura

    June 2, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    I cant help but giggle at all the “ew gross!” people. as if living with the diapers rotting in a landfill isnt gross?? especially in the early months, and ESPECIALLY breast milk poos are entirely water soluble. It really doesnt matter if you cloth diaper or not, when you have a kid you will be dealing with poop. I touch poop no more than i would normally (ive done both. cloth diapering my own and disposabled the girls i used to nanny for) So why not use diapers you can re-use? Yea its “green” or eco friendly (i guess? after all the washing im not sure it evens out but i think its better than rotting diapers in landfills AND better than spending money on something you just throw away.) but for me its the self reliance thing. Its really nice to not need walmart.
    just my two cents 🙂

  • KLGray

    June 3, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    I’m new to cloth diapering. I knew about the sprayer, but didn’t want to spend the money on one. I thought maybe I could use a spatula. Then felt embarrassed. Because that’s gross right. Owning a poo scraper. Then I read this, and I feel so relieved. I’ll be setting up my poo spatula and bucket system this afternoon. Thanks. 

  • Sara

    October 21, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Sounds like u guys are making up for the saved space in our landfills with the waste of the extra water.

  • Amy

    December 2, 2014 at 11:49 am

    “Waste of water” is silly. The water goes through the septic system and is treated and recycled. It doesn’t magically disappear. The landfill just stacks higher and higher. No comparison. (In terms of eco-friendliness/responsible stewardship. The cost of water and electricity would be items to consider if making a financial argument.)

  • Tamara

    January 14, 2015 at 9:46 am

    OKAY, so my experience with cloth diapering hasn’t been that great.  TBH I don’t really like it because I have had such trouble with it.  Let me tell you what I mean. I invested in clothe diapers. The first thing to say is that it is EXPENSIVE. I know you save money in the long run, but its a lot to put out at once. (So I found some that were a bit more economical because you could adjust them as they grow instead of having to buy 4 different sizes).  I got the FLIP system (with stay-dry inserts). Okay so…my experience with these things was: if I don’t catch them immediately after he pees/poos, they leak. Its pretty much guaranteed! And its not always possible that I can change him RIGHT away. It might be an hour trip in the car or something. Next: my infant had a yeast rash. The rash would not clear up (no matter what I did) because he kept getting it back from the cloth diapers.  If I use vinegar or anything similar on these diapers it voids the warranty. (The company told me the only thing that won’t void the warranty is using a bit of BLEACH.) AND it was supposed to kill the yeast. As much as I hate bleach and didn’t want use it, I did try it because of the waranty and I HAD TO kill the yeast. So I washed the diapers like 3 times afterwards to be sure I got the bleach out. Anyways, I kept him in disposables for a like a week+  while I disinfected the cloth diapers and waited for his rash to clear up. Finally, I put him back in the cloth diapers. Guess what???? The rash comes back. I went through this process 2 times, and BOTH TIMES THE RASH WOULD START TO COME BACK.  I gave up!!! I have used disposables since, and haven’t had any problems with rashes in those. So now I’m at the point where I am trying to potty train the little guy. I decided to put him in clothe diapers again for a while to get him used to the “wet feeling” and encourage him to use the toilet. He doesn’t like the bulky feeling of the clothe diapers (and neither do I ). He gets over it after a couple minutes. These things still leak like crazy, they start within 5 minutes of him pooing/peeing. After 2 days, a little rash started forming AGAIN. I don’t see how he can be allergic to clothe diapers, but apparently he is!!! The liners always bunch up and miss half the poop (he is a a little rough and tumble guy).  He just took a huge dump and it was so disgusting and mushy i couldn’t get it off the diaper with shaking. I WOULD try the spatula thing that you mentioned, but with the apparent sensitivity to these clothe diapers, they are going BYE-BYE!!! (I do the dry pail method). I really dislike that I spent over $100 on these things and they have been so horrible. I wanted to try the G-diapers because the inside is disposable, but they are too much $$$. When they invent a clothe diaper that is more compact in between the legs, leak proof, with flush-able inserts, you don’t have to buy multiple sizes (but can adjust the diaper as the baby grows), and cost friendly for those on lower budgets, then I will be the first one in line!! 
    Oh and I forgot to metion… yes, I have to buy a special soap to clean these too (according to manufacterer). So I did. It isn’t available at my local store, so I have to drive 30 minutes to another town to get it. Apparently these things can just be washed in free and clear soap. Believe me I researched tons to make sure I was doing everything right!
    Welp…that’s my story of “my cloth diapering nightmare”…HA HA okay maybe just “my clothe diapering failure” will do, LOL

  • Tamara

    January 14, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Okay the third sentence from the end- should have read “Apparently these things CANNOT just be washed in free and clear soap.”